What do you do when you have faith and pray, but God still doesn’t fix it?
It’s so hard when that happens. We know.
We’ve been there.
Tiffany has severe Crohn’s disease. In our 6 years of marriage, she has been admitted to the hospital close to 40 times.
She has been septic 3 times.
She has had c. diff. 8 times. C. diff. has a mortality rate of around 30%.
Then there was the pancreatitis for 6 months, requiring a feeding tube that could only give her 700 calories per day.
There have been multiple times where the doctor has told Phillip to call her parents to come say their goodbyes. The first time that happened, we had only been married about 6 months.
Another times was just a few months after the birth of our first child.
Obviously, during these times, we’ve prayed. We’ve had others pray for us. We’ve received blessings.
And yet, even last week, Tiffany was once again back in the hospital.
It would be so easy for our faith to be shaken. To doubt that God has the power to heal.
Or worse, to believe that God has the power to heal, but He doesn’t love us. Or our faith isn’t strong enough.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s this:Faith to be healed is easy. It's the faith to NOT be healed that is hard. When you believe that God can heal you but chooses not do so, can you still trust Him? Trust His love for you?Click To Tweet
We have learned a lot about trusting God over the last several years. And everything we learned can be summed up in the book “When God Doesn’t Fix It,” by Laura Story.
If you don’t know who Laura is, you may have at least heard one of her songs. It’s a favorite of ours:
To make a long story short, Laura is a Christian musician. Her husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor that permanent destroyed his short-term memory. They were newlyweds when all of this occurred.
Her book goes through her journey and how her faith in God grew.
When we read her book for the first time, it put into words everything that we had already been learning through our own trials. It helped reinforce that we were not alone – that what we were learning about God was not just our imagination or or ego.
In each chapter, Laura discusses a myth about God and faith, and dispels it with a truth that she has learned. Here is some of what stands out to us the most:
|Trials are a curse.||Trials are an opportunity.|
|God’s primary desire is to fix broken things.||God’s primary desire is to fix my broken relationship with him.|
|The plan I have for my life is much better than the place where God has me right now.||Where God has me right now is the best place for me.|
|I gain by holding on.||I gain by letting go.|
|God can only use my story when there is a happy ending.||God can use my story when I trust Him in the journey.|
|I am defined by my past.||God redeems my past and gives me a future.|
|My story isn’t worth much.||My story is my greatest offering.|
|I must work to keep my dreams alive.||I can rest when I release my dreams to the hands of my loving Father.|
|God is withholding what I want because He is punishing me.||God is withholding what I want because He has something better for me.|
|Things have to get better before I can get better.||My situation may not get better, but I can get better.|
We want to talk about some of these truths (not all, or this post would never end), and talk about how we’ve seen them in our lives.
Trials are an opportunity.
One of Tiffany’s favorite scriptures is in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. Paul talks about a “thorn in the flesh” that God doesn’t remove. God tells Paul instead that “My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Paul then says, “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
Trials are an opportunity to discover your weaknesses and turn them into strengths with Christ’s help.
Can you say that you take pleasure in your difficult times?
We aren’t quite there yet, but we are trying to keep that attitude.
Where God has me right now is the best place for me.
We had a bit of a rocky courtship. That’s a story for another time, but we almost got married, broke up and moved to separate states for a year, and then got back together and were married. It’s easy to look at that and think, “You should have just done it the first time!”
But what you don’t see is that in the year we were apart, Tiffany was diagnosed with Crohn’s and was able to have her parents to help her through it. Phillip was able to gain confidence in who he was and what he wanted to be.
When we got married, we planned to have Tiffany teach while Phillip got his master’s degree, and then start a family.
Instead, Tiffany got very ill and then pregnant (while on the pill), so Phillip graduated with his bachelor’s and immediately began working.
At the time, it was so disheartening. But looking back, we wouldn’t change anything.
Not. One. Thing.
Our life is so much more amazing than what we could have imagined.
God can use my story when I trust Him in the journey
A few years ago, there was an Olympic swimmer with Crohn’s disease.
Tiffany hasn’t really accomplished anything as incredible as going to the Olympics – at least, in the eyes of the world.
But the difference she makes in the lives of individual people is just as important to those people and to God. She blesses them more deeply than she would if she were too busy being “big” to know them personally.
(Note: this are Phillip’s words, not Tiffany’s! Tiffany wants to take this part out, but Phillip won’t let her.)
God is withholding what I want because He has something better for me.
It is so easy to feel like God not answering your pleadings with Him to ease your path is because He is punishing you.
But He isn’t!
Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”
God knew us before we were born, and He planned our life for us. He promised us He would do everything He could to bring us back to Him.When God doesn't answer your prayers, it is because He is keeping a promise to you that He already made before you were born.Click To Tweet
My situation may not get better, but I can get better.
Whenever Tiffany discusses her health with someone she has just met (like a new doctor, or the random person on the bus), they are often amazed by how positive and happy she is.
(Again, these embarrassingly flattering words are from Phillip.)
She never yells at the nurses, even if they treat her like a pin cushion trying to get an IV in or are late with pain meds and she is hurting.
She doesn’t lament about what could have been.
Instead, her response is always this:I can't change how sick I am. I only have two choices: I can be sick and miserable, or I can be sick and happy. I would much rather be sick and happy.Click To Tweet
You may not be able to change the circumstance that you’re in. All you can do is change yourself.
My story is my greatest offering
People often say, “Don’t let that [insert difficult experience] define you!”
But that is doing yourself a disservice.
What you are going through can be your greatest blessing! How you handle your story, your life, is the greatest gift that you can give to God.
You should let your circumstances define you! Otherwise you’re just wasting the trial that God has given you. Let it define you for the better!
Tiffany’s Crohn’s is just as much a part of her as being a mother, or being a math teacher. Her time spent being ill has shaped her because she lets it shape her.
Paul talks about “kicking against the pricks” when he talks about his thorn in the flesh. If you fight to not let your trials define you, then you’re fighting against what God is wanting you to go through, and you won’t learn.
You’ll have gone through those difficulties for nothing.
Read the book!
This is just a small highlight of what you can get out of When God Doesn’t Fix It,” by Laura Story. It is an incredible book!
If you didn’t read with us this month, then you definitely need to read it now!
And if you want to read along with us in May, here is our 2018 Book of the Month Schedule.